Family of late human services director sues plane, engine maker after crash

A federal investigation has yet to find out what caused a deadly plane crash off Molokai, but a lawsuit claims a faulty engine is to blame.

The state’s Human Services Director Loretta Fuddy, 65, died of an irregular heartbeat following the December 11th crash off Kalaupapa.

Now, her family is suing the maker of the plane’s engine, Canada-based Pratt and Whitney.

The family’s lawyer claimed the company knew about a fault in the plane’s turbine blades and did nothing to correct the problem.

“The blades themselves actually deform, almost like a piece of taffy, and it will hit the shroud that surrounds the engine. When that happens, the engine stops immediately,” said attorney Rick Fried.

Fried said there were 75 instances of turbine blade failure between 1990 and 2010.

“We went back just a year and there have been a dozen crashes of the Cessna 208s, not all due to the blade problem, but a number of them clearly were due to it,” he said.

Pratt and Whitney has not yet responded to KHON2′s request for comment.

The pilot and seven other passengers on the flight survived without major injuries.

The owner of the plane, Makani Kai, is also named in the suit. Owner Richard Schuman told KHON2 Monday the company did more than required to make sure the plane was safe.

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